Friday, 30 July 2010

The power of a pantone reference

In my industry - 'pre-press' - we used to describe ourselves, rather archaically and ungrammatically as being part of 'the print'. Sometime in the 90's when Apple Macs replaced paste-up and PDFs replaced film colour-separations we slipped into becoming a part (sort of) of the design industry.

So increasingly  I've come to understand how real designers like to distance themselves from the commercial consequences of their actions: Look in the coffee shops of Hoxton where all those young creatives have a copy of Noami Klien's No Logo in their messenger bags next to the latest Mac laptop. They're grabbing an over-priced Americano before returning to the studio to knock out another piece of work for some brand that's getting fat on the sweat of off-shored labour somewhere.

Here in London, today is the launch of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme. As has been said elsewhere it is probably going to turn into the most all-pervasive corporate branding deal we've ever seen. From a professional point of view I can't help noticing that the colour of the  branding that  appears all over the West End is that old favourite 'Pantone Process Cyan'.  

Conveniently  Barclays' corporate blue was there all along in TFL's own corporate colour palette. Was that convenience or conspiracy ? And what came first the branding or the deal ? Did the whole sponsorship/partnership spring from the mind of an executive with a design background ?

Sometimes I wish I wasn't associated with design - and its bastard offspring of branding - and that I could just get back to being 'in the print'.

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